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World AIDS Day Focuses on Prevention


The leaders of governments across the globe have pledged to strengthen efforts to combat and prevent the spread of HIV/AIDS on the 20th anniversary of World AIDS Day Monday.

U.S. President George Bush says his administration has already met its goal of treating two million people living with HIV/AIDS by the end of the year.

Mr. Bush told reporters outside the White House Monday that his administration's emergency plan for AIDS relief has helped more than 10 million people around the world. He said that number includes life-saving treatment for more than 237,000 babies.

President-elect Barack Obama says his government will continue the "critical" work of addressing the AIDS crisis when he takes office in January.

In recorded remarks to a forum on global health in Washington, which President Bush attended today, Mr. Obama said his administration will focus on prevention and treatment for at-risk communities in the U.S. and the rest of the world.

Events to publicize the threat of AIDS, for which there is no known cure, and the need for more funding are taking place worldwide, from Azerbaijan to Zimbabwe.

The organizer of the global awareness day, the World AIDS Campaign, says the day is set aside to focus on the auto-immune disease and its treatment.

The theme of this year's event is "leadership." Organizers say they will urge donors to follow through on pledges of aid to the cause, and will try to highlight the discrepancy between those pledges and what actually has been given.

World Health Organization officials say that some 33 million people are infected with HIV, two-thirds of them in sub-Saharan Africa. It says 7,500 new infections take place every day.